The Real Inflation Problem Is Corporate Profiteering

The prices of everyday goods are going up, and everyone from members of Congress to talking heads on cable news have their own diagnoses as to why it’s happening. But they’re all missing the biggest piece of the puzzle about what is to blame—namely, corporate profiteering.

You’ve heard a dizzying array of explanations about inflation. Biden administration officials have said the Covid pandemic resulted in supply chain disruptions, which are now being ironed out. Republicans are blaming Biden’s policies for putting too much money into the hands of working families.

Corporate leaders are blaming it on an inability to hire workers and a workforce that wants better pay and working conditions. Economists say that while inflation is indeed occurring, the expectation of inflation is truly what’s altering consumer attitudes and behavior.

What all these arguments miss is that, despite whatever rising costs exist for raw materials or transportation or other underlying factors, the incontestable truth is profits are way up for the largest corporations in America.

And what that means is pretty simple: Corporate America has seized on the fears of inflation to jack up prices on you and make a ton more money. According to The Wall Street Journal, nearly two out of three of the biggest U.S. publicly traded companies had larger profit margins this year than they did in 2019, prior to the pandemic. Not just profits. Larger profits.

Nearly 100 of these massive corporations report profits in 2021 that are 50 percent above profit margins from 2019. CEOs are quick to suggest to media that they have been forced to raise prices because of one difficulty or another.

However, my organization More Perfect Union reviewed recent corporate earnings calls featuring CEOs of some of the largest companies in the world, like Tyson Foods, Kellogg’s, Pepsi, Mondelez (a huge snack food and beverage company that used to be known as Kraft), and others. And we found jubilant executives revealing that price hikes are great for business.

In these calls, business leaders employ fancy financial lingo to tell large shareholders how they are engaging in “pricing improvements” and “successful pricing strategies.” They tell you they are experiencing customer “elasticities” to price increases at historically low levels. When you decode what they’re saying, it’s nothing less than a euphoric articulation that they’re able to pass off price increases to consumers, who, in the words of legendary investor Warren Buffett, are “just accepting it.”

The stocks have in turn moved higher and higher. (And interestingly, when a corporation like Target announces it hasn’t raised prices despite strong earnings, investors are punishing it by pushing the stock downward.)

In an interview with Fox Business, John Catsimatidis, a conservative pundit and billionaire CEO, revealed very simply what his C-suite colleagues are doing. “Why give something away if you don’t have to, and you can have a bigger margin?” he said. Right. It’s corporate price gouging at work.

Beef prices are up this holiday season. Why are they up? Because a consolidated market has allowed monopolists like Tyson’s, Cargill, and National Beef to rake in more profits while ensuring that very little of that goes to ranchers and farmers who are raising the cattle.

Home Depot and Lowe’s recently posted incredible earnings, pleasing giddy investors. CNBC’s voluble Jim Cramer observed that these two companies “can do no wrong because they’re passing on rising costs to the public, and the public has no choice …because these two chains have single-handedly wiped out the competition already.”

The power is entirely in the hands of large corporations, and they’re going for the gold. This story of corporate greed is being missed in the national inflation conversation.

But there’s more! Think about the devious design of what corporations have been up to. For months, they have, with one hand, fueled talk of inflation as a way to make obscene profits off the backs of consumers. That’s bad enough. But with the other hand, they have been manipulating the talk of inflation to engage in a full-frontal assault on President Biden’s efforts to pass a Build Back Better bill for working families.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has called Biden’s proposal an “existential threat,” and it—along with many corporate P.R. groups—has led a multimillion-dollar barrage of corporate ad spending to try to dissuade voters about it.

Corporate America is also feeding its talking points into the hands of Republican lawmakers and media outlets that pin the blame for inflation on Biden and falsely warn that enacting a working families bill is only going to feed it further. Because the Build Back Better act will have increased taxes on corporations, these big businesses are eager to kill it. They are not about to give up any of their record profits to invest in the safety net of America.

As we head into Thanksgiving and Christmas, and we all look forward to large enjoyable feasts with friends and family, we should rightly harbor anger about inflation. Not just that they made us pay more for turkey, cranberries, and pie crusts.

We’re having to pay more because corporate America made a choice to raise prices on us, and then on top of that, it tried to manipulate your fear about those prices to keep you from getting paid leave, home care, childcare, and climate change action. Corporate America made you pay more while trying to make sure it didn’t have to.

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Five Ways Nostalgia Can Improve Your Well-Being

Some recent studies suggest that experiencing nostalgia about our past can make us happier and more resilient during times of stress.

I often find myself nostalgic for days gone by—especially my young adulthood. Thinking about days when I could go backpacking with a friend on a moment’s notice or dance the night away at my wedding, without the constraints of child care or a limited energy supply, gives me a bittersweet feeling—a mixture of joy, sadness, and longing.

While I find nostalgia pleasant overall and even inspiring, doctors and psychologists did not always consider it a good thing. Staying “stuck in the past” was often associated with being unable to adjust to new realities, like when soldiers were nostalgic for their faraway homes and experienced loneliness and dread. Not that long ago, some considered nostalgia to be a mental illness, akin to melancholy, which could lead to anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders.

But more recent findings on nostalgia suggest it can be good for us, increasing our well-being, making us feel connected to other people, and giving us a sense of continuity in our lives. And it seems to come on naturally when we need to weather life’s difficulties. Rather than being a problem, nostalgia can help bring happiness and meaning to our lives.

Here are some of the ways nostalgia can benefit us, according to science.

Nostalgia makes us feel socially connected

Nostalgia about our past often includes recalling important people in our lives—people who cared about us and made us feel like we belonged. Certainly, my own nostalgic musings are centered around times when I was with the people and places I love. So, it’s not too surprising that recalling these special times would make us feel more connected to others, in general.

In one study, researchers found that people who were asked to write about an event from their past that made them feel “sentimental longing for the past” felt loved and supported, and this, in turn, helped buffer them against loneliness. Another study found that when people felt nostalgic about times in their lives when they interacted with members of an “out-group”—for example, teenagers recalling fun times with older adults—they felt less prejudice toward that group.

Nostalgia also seems to help us maintain our relationships. For example, one study found that inducing nostalgia helped people feel more optimistic about relationships in general and more willing to connect with friends. Another study found that when induced to feel nostalgia, people (especially those who find connecting with others easier) felt more able to offer emotional support to the people in their lives.

Nostalgia helps us find meaning in life

A sense of meaning in life involves knowing that your existence matters and that your life has coherence or purpose. It’s something we all strive for in one way or another.

Fortunately, research suggests nostalgia can be an important resource for increasing meaning, by highlighting central moments in our lives and giving us a sense of continuity.

In one study, researchers compared nostalgia to two seemingly related forms of thinking about one’s life: recalling a positive past event or imagining a desired future. Focusing on an event that made them nostalgic led people to feel their lives had more meaning compared to imagining a desirable future. And, compared to both other reflections, feeling nostalgic reduced people’s need to search for meaning in their lives—they already felt life had meaning.

In another study, people either listened to music that brought them back to a particular time or read lyrics to old songs. These nostalgic activities not only made them feel loved and socially connected but also increased their sense of meaning in life. And, when people read an essay that encouraged them to think that life had no meaning—which said, “There are approximately 7 billion people living on this planet. So take a moment to ponder the following question: In the grand scheme of things, how significant are you?”—they naturally turned to feelings of nostalgia for relief from that sense of meaninglessness.

These findings and others suggest that nostalgia not only heightens your sense of meaning in life, but can act as a buffer when you experience a loss of meaning. And it may help you move forward in life, too. As one study found, nostalgia can increase your motivation to pursue important life goals, because it increases meaning—not just because it puts you in a better mood.

Nostalgia can make us happier

Though it does seem to do just that—to boost our mood. Even though nostalgia is by definition a blend of positive and negative emotion, the positive tends to outweigh the negative, meaning we feel happier overall.

In one very recent study, 176 university students were randomly assigned to a six-week nostalgia program where they were asked weekly to write about a past event that brought on “a sentimental longing for the past” (while a control group wrote about past events that were ordinary). Afterward, they reported on their levels of positive and negative emotions and how much the writing provided a sense of social connection, meaning, or connection to their past self. At different points in time, they also reported on their life satisfaction, feelings of vitality, and well-being.

The researchers found that nostalgia was generally beneficial, leading people to experience more positive emotions, life satisfaction, and well-being, as well as fewer negative emotions—at least three weeks into the program. These benefits mostly disappeared after that—except for people who started the experiment already engaging in nostalgia regularly. For them, going through the nostalgia program brought them greater life satisfaction and fewer negative emotions up to a month later, possibly because the program was a better fit for them.

A lot of the benefits on happiness may be connected to nostalgia’s effects on social connection and meaning. But it could also be that nostalgia helps us see ourselves in a truer, more authentic light.

Nostalgia puts us in touch with our authentic selves

When thinking nostalgically about our past, we are the prime protagonists in our own life stories. Perhaps because of this, nostalgia helps us to see our lives as continuous and coherent, providing us with a sense of authenticity.

In one study, when primed to feel nostalgic by writing about a time in their past, people saw their past self as an authentic representation of themselves. This, in turn, reduced their focus on meeting the expectations of others versus following their own, intrinsic expectations of themselves. In other words, it helped them be their authentic selves.

The researchers also studied how threats to one’s sense of self might make people engage in more nostalgia. Half of the participants read this text: “Many people feel that they have two sides to themselves. One side is the person that they show to other people; the other side is their true self—that is, the person who they truly are deep down.” Then, they wrote about times in their lives when they’d found it hard to reveal their real selves to others.

The other half of the participants wrote about their daily routines and when those routines were disrupted. Then, both groups reported on their positive and negative emotions, as well as feelings of nostalgia.

Findings showed that people who focused on threats to their self-concept experienced more negative emotions, and in turn felt more nostalgic. This suggests that nostalgia helps put us in touch with our “real selves” and protects us against threats to our authenticity.

Perhaps for this reason, engaging in nostalgia can lead to personal growth. At least one study found that feeling nostalgia made people feel more positively about themselves, which, in turn, made them more open to experiencing new things, expanding their horizons, and being curious—all signs of psychological health.

Nostalgia may help people who feel disillusioned or depressed

Perhaps because of these potential benefits, people tend to engage in nostalgia when they are feeling down, lonely, or disillusioned. Many studies have found that nostalgia seems to protect people from negative mind states, bringing about a kind of emotional homeostasis.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that nostalgia is always good or can’t have a downside. If nostalgia makes us spend too much time thinking about our past, it may prevent us from recognizing the joy in our lives right here and now. And, since we tend to engage in nostalgia when negative things occur, it could become an avoidance strategy that keeps us from dealing with present problems in more effective ways.

Encouraging groups of people to feel nostalgic could also have negative consequences. For example, one study found that nostalgia made people more likely to believe political claims, regardless of their veracity. Inducing nostalgia could be an advertising ploy used to affect consumer behavior, which could lead to poor choices, too.

Still, chances are that nostalgia is more a blessing than a curse, and a winning strategy for feeling better about ourselves. It can increase our connection to others, our sense of meaning in our lives, our authenticity, and our happiness. So, why not tune into nostalgia now and then? It may just help you meet the challenges of the moment.

Source: Five Ways Nostalgia Can Improve Your Well-Being

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China’s Burned Out Tech Workers are Fighting Back Against Long Hours

1The draining 996 work schedule—named for the expectation that employees work 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., six days a week—has persisted in Chinese companies for years despite ongoing public outcry. Even Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma once called it a “huge blessing.”

In early October this year, it seemed the tide might have been turning. After hopeful signs of increased government scrutiny in August, four aspiring tech workers initiated a social media project designed to expose the problem with the nation’s working culture. A publicly editable database of company practices, it soon went viral, revealing working conditions at many companies in the tech sector and helping bring 996 to the center of the public’s attention. It managed to garner 1 million views within its first week.

But the project—first dubbed Worker Lives Matter and then Working Time—was gone almost as quickly as it appeared. The database and the GitHub repository page have been deleted, and online discussions about the work have been censored by Chinese social networking platforms.  The short life of Working Time highlights how difficult it is to make progress against overtime practices that, while technically illegal in China, are still thriving.

But some suspect it won’t be the last anonymous project to take on 996. “I believe there will be more and more attempts and initiatives like this,” says programmer Suji Yan, who has worked on another anti-996 project. With better approaches to avoiding censorship, he says, they could bring even more attention to the problem.

Tracking hours

Working Time started with a spreadsheet shared on Tencent Docs, China’s version of Google Docs. Shortly after it was posted, it was populated with entries attributed to companies such as Alibaba, the Chinese-language internet search provider Baidu, and e-commerce company JD.com.  “9 a.m., 10:30 p.m.–11:00 p.m., six days a week, managers usually go home after midnight,” read one entry linked with tech giant Huawei. “10 a.m., 9 p.m. (off-work time 9 p.m., but our group stays until 9:30 p.m. or 10 p.m. because of involution,” noted another entry (“involution” is Chinese internet slang for irrational competition).

Within three days, more than 1,000 entries had been added. A few days later, it became the top trending topic on China’s Quora-like online forum Zhihu.  As the spreadsheet grew and got more public attention, one organizer, with the user name 秃头才能变强 (“Only Being Bald Can Make You Strong”), came out on Zhihu to share the story behind the burgeoning project. “Four of us are fresh college and master’s degree graduates who were born between 1996 and 2001,” the organizer said.genesis3-1-1

Initially, the spreadsheet was just for information sharing, to help job hunters like themselves, they said. But as it got popular, the organizers decided to push from information gathering to activism. “It is not simply about sharing anymore, as we bear some social responsibility,”

The spreadsheet filled a gap in China, where there is a lack of company rating sites such as Glassdoor and limited ways for people to learn about benefits, office culture, and salary information. Some job seekers depend on word of mouth, while others reach out to workers randomly on the professional networking app Maimai or piece together information from job listings.  “I have heard about 996, but I was not aware it is that common.

Now I see the tables made by others, I feel quite shocked,” Lane Sun, a university student from Nanjing, said when the project was still public. Against 996 According to China’s labor laws, a typical work schedule is eight hours a day, with a maximum of 44 hours a week. Extra hours beyond that require overtime pay, and monthly overtime totals are capped at 36 hours.125x125-1-1-1

But for a long time, China’s tech companies and startups have skirted overtime caps and become notorious for endorsing, glamorizing, and in some cases mandating long hours in the name of hard work and competitive advantage.  In a joint survey by China’s online job site Boss Zhipin and the microblogging platform Weibo in 2019, only 10.6% of workers surveyed said they rarely worked overtime, while 24.7% worked overtime every day.

 Long work hours can benefit workers, Jack Ma explained in 2019. “Since you are here, instead of making yourself miserable, you should do 996,” Ma said in a speech at an internal Alibaba meeting that was later shared online. “Your 10-year working experience will be the same as others’ 20 years.” But the tech community had already started to fight back. Earlier that year, a user created the domain 996.icu.

A repository of the same name was launched on GitHub a few days later. The name means that “by following the 996 work schedule, you are risking yourself getting into the ICU (intensive care unit),” explains the GitHub page, which includes regulations on working hours under China’s labor law and a list of more than 200 companies that practice 996.  Within three days, the repository got over 100,000 stars, or bookmarks, becoming the top trending project on GitHub at that time. It was blocked not long after by Chinese browsers including QQ and 360, ultimately disappearing entirely from the Chinese internet (it is still available through VPNs).

The 996.icu project was quickly followed by the Anti-996 License. Devised by Yan and Katt Gu, who has a legal background, the software license allows developers to restrict the use of their code to those entities that comply with labor laws. In total, the Anti-996 License has been adopted by more than 2,000 projects, Yan says. Today, 996 is facing increasing public scrutiny from both Chinese authorities and the general public.

After a former employee at the agriculture-focused tech firm Pinduoduo died in December 2020, allegedly because of overwork, China’s state-run press agency Xinhua called out overtime culture and advocated for shorter hours.This company delivers packages faster than Amazon, but workers pay the priceSouth Korean e-commerce giant Coupang uses AI to promise almost-instant delivery. But speed comes with troubling labor issues—including worker deaths.

And on August 26, China’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security and the Supreme People’s Court jointly published guidelines and examples of court cases on overtime, sending reminders to companies and individuals to be aware of labor laws. But even though authorities and state media seem to be taking a tougher stand, it is unclear when or if the rules that make 996 illegal will be fully enforced. Some companies are making changes.quintex-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-2-1-1-1-1-2-2-1-1-1

Anthony Cai, a current employee of Baidu, says working six days a week is quite rare in big companies nowadays. This year, several tech companies including and ByteDance, the developer of TikTok, canceled “big/small weeks,” an emerging term in China that refers to working a six-day schedule every other week. “Working on Saturday is not that popular anymore,” Cai says. “However, staying late at the office is still very common, which is not usually counted as overtime hours.” 

 Source: https://www.technologyreview.com

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Future Of Work: The 5 Biggest Workplace Trends In 2022

Much has been written about the huge changes in our working lives during the past two years – driven of course by necessity and concerns for safety. In 2022, the pandemic is very much still a fact of life for many of us. However, it’s fair to say that we’ve learned to adapt to new behavioral patterns and expectations as we do our jobs. If we are among the millions of “knowledge workers” who find ourselves with more freedom to choose when and where we work, then hopefully, we are making the most of the opportunity to strike a better balance between home and working life.

Of course, however much there is to write about the widespread shift away from offices and centralized workplaces, there are many occupations and professions where this simply isn’t an option. To frontline workers in healthcare, retail, teaching, transport, and security – among many other industries – buzzwords like “hybrid workplace” probably have very little impact on their day-to-day lives. But they are unlikely to remain untouched by other trends on this list, as technology opens up opportunities for new ways of working and continues to redefine the relationship between us and our workplaces.

Hybrid working

When it comes to where we work, there will continue to be three main models – centralized workplaces, decentralized remote organizations, and the hybrid “best of both worlds” approach. What’s likely to change in 2022 is that it’s more likely that we, as workers, will have the choice rather than being forced to align with whatever model your organization has chosen out of necessity.

Organizations are clearly undergoing a change in their relationship with the idea of a centralized workplace. At the height of the pandemic in 2020, 69% of large companies expected an overall decrease in the amount of office space they would be using, according to research by KPMG.

Hybrid structures will range from companies maintaining permanent centralized offices with hot-desking to accommodate the fact that staff will more frequently work remotely, to doing away with offices entirely and relying on co-working spaces and serviced meeting rooms to support the needs of a primarily remote workforce.

A report recently commissioned by video messaging platform Loom found that 90% of employees surveyed – including workers and managers – are happier with the increased freedom they now have to work from home, suggesting that this is likely to be a trend that is here to stay as we move into 2022.

AI-augmented workforceThe World Economic Forum predicts that AI and automation will lead to the creation of 97 million new jobs by 2025. However, people working in many existing jobs will also find their roles changing,  as they are increasingly expected to augment their own abilities with AI technology. Initially, this AI will primarily be used to automate repetitive elements of their day-to-day roles and allow workers to focus on areas that require a more human touch – creativity, imagination, high-level strategy, or emotional intelligence, for example.

Some examples include lawyers who will use technology that cuts down the amount of time spent reviewing case histories in order to find precedents, and doctors who will have computer vision capabilities to help them analyze medical records and scans to help them diagnose illness in patients. In retail, augmented analytics helps store managers with inventory planning and logistics and helps sales assistants predict what individual shoppers will be looking for when they walk through the door.

Marketers have an ever-growing range of tools at their disposal to help them target campaigns and segment audiences. And in engineering and manufacturing roles, workers will increasingly have access to technology that helps them understand how machinery works and predict where breakdowns are likely to happen.

Staffing for resilience

Pre-pandemic, the priority was generally to have been to hire staff that would create efficient organizations. Mid and post-pandemic, the emphasis has shifted firmly in the direction of resilience. Whereas built-in redundancy or overlaps in skills might previously have been seen as inefficient, today, it’s seen as a sensible precaution.

This certainly encompasses another sub-trend, which is that employers are coming to understand the critical importance of building employee healthcare and wellbeing (including mental health) strategies into their game plan. Many are now trying to take more responsibility for helping their workforce maintain physical, mental, and financial wellbeing. A challenge here that companies will come up against in 2022 is finding ways to do this that hit objectives without being overly intrusive or invasive of employees’ privacy and personal lives.

Ensuring a workforce is healthy enough to keep a business running is clearly a critical element of resilience, but it also covers the implementation of processes that are more flexible, with built-in redundancies to provide cover when disaster strikes, resulting in operational efficiency becoming compromised. These processes are sure to play an increasingly big part in the day-to-day lives of workers as we move through 2022.

Less focus on roles, more focus on skills

Gartner says, “To build the workforce you’ll need post-pandemic, focus less on roles – which group unrelated skills – than on the skills needed to drive the organization’s competitive advantage and the workflows that fuel this advantage.”

Skills are critical because they address core business challenges, with the competencies needed in a workforce to overcome those challenges. Roles, on the other hand, describe the way individual members of a workforce relate to an overall organizational structure or hierarchy. We’ve certainly seen this trend gestating for some time, with the move towards more “flat” organizational structures as opposed to strictly hierarchical teams with a direct reporting, chain-of-command approach to communication and problem-solving.

By focussing on skills, businesses address the fact that solving problems and answering their core business questions is the key to driving innovation and success within information-age enterprises.

From the worker’s point of view, focusing on developing their skills, rather than further developing their abilities to carry out their role, leaves them better positioned to capitalize on new career opportunities. This shift in focus from roles to skills is likely to be a key trend for both organizations and workers during 2022.

Employee monitoring and analytics

Controversial though it may be, research shows that employers are increasingly investing in technology designed to monitor and track the behavior of their employees in order to drive efficiency. Platforms such as Aware that allow businesses to monitor behavior across email and tools such as Slack in order to measure productivity, are being seen as particularly useful by managers overseeing remote workforces.

It builds on functionality created by earlier products such as Hitachi’s Business Microscope that tracked movements of staff around physical office blocks and could be used to monitor, among other things, how often bathroom breaks were taken, and which workers spend the most amount of time talking to others as opposed to sitting at their workstation.

Of course, it seems that it would be easy for companies to use these tools in a way that would be seen as overbearing or intrusive by their workers, and in my opinion, that would clearly be a recipe for disaster. However, ostensibly at least, the idea is to use them to gain broad oversights into workforce behavior rather than focus on individuals’ activity and use them as tools for enforcing discipline.

Companies that invest in this technology have a fine line to tread, and it remains to be seen whether the net effect will be a boost to productivity or a “chilling effect” on individual freedoms. If it’s the latter, it’s unlikely to end well for the companies involved. However, for better or worse, it seems likely that this kind of technology will play an increasingly large role in the workplace during 2022.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website or some of my other work here.

Bernard Marr is an internationally best-selling author, popular keynote speaker, futurist, and a strategic business & technology advisor to governments and companies. He helps organizations improve their

Source: Future Of Work: The 5 Biggest Workplace Trends In 2022

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33 Small, Nice Things to Do When Your Relationship Feels Disconnected

We’ve all been there at one time or another. Something is…just a bit off in your relationship. You can feel it. No, this isn’t a lets-draw-up-the-divorce-papers scenario. But there’s a palpable sense of distance and disconnection. Maybe it’s due to a sudden change in schedules. Maybe it’s because every day feels the same and you’ve both fallen into a little bit of a funk. Maybe it’s something else entirely.

Whatever the case, you’ve noticed that your relationship feels distanced and want to take some steps to close that space. Good for you. Here, then, are a variety of small, nice things to do if you feel disconnected from your partner. Will they all work for you? No, but each requires effort. And effort is what’s needed to make a change.

Talk about it. Seriously. Your partner is not a mind-reader. If you don’t bring up the fact that you feel distance, they won’t know how you feel and you won’t know how they feel. Hell, they may be surprised that you feel it. Either well, it will be helpful. So put it out in the open, explain what’s on your mind, and listen to your partner do the same.

Don’t blindside them when they have a five minute break from work or they finished bathing the kids. Choose the right time to bring it up.

Show appreciation. And be specific about it. Mention the loving way they defused that tantrum the other day. Compliment them on how thoughtful they are. Tell them they’re a wonderful parent. Make it known that you’re paying attention.

Ask questions. About work. About friends. About colleagues. About sex. About anything and everything. Importantly, listen actively and remember the answers. Curiosity is what keeps couples connected.

Offer up information about yourself, too. Did you eat a great sandwich today? Hear a great song? Are you working on something interesting at the office? Did your toddler do something ridiculous at the park this morning? Tell your partner. You need to be three-dimensional, too.

Make time for one another. Even if it’s just 20 minutes together doing the dishes after dinner. Set aside the time. Disconnection often happens when alone time is not actively pursued.

And make plans for next month. Real plans. The more interesting the better. Is there a cool show in town? An interesting restaurant that you both want to eat at? An axe-throwing place you want to check out? Whatever the case, find something that will give you something to talk about and connect over.

But also discuss far-off plans. Excitedly talking about the future helps make it obvious that you will both be together for the long haul. And who doesn’t like to imagine the good things to come? “Wouldn’t it be amazing to sail around the Greek isles together when we’re retired?” Yeah, it would.

Download a relationship or sex app. Use them on your next date night. Many contain a variety of exercises to help stave off boredom. Here are a few to check out.

Plan a date night. In or out. Fancy or casual. Just make it happen.

Text. Call. Occasionally pop in and say hi. Don’t be overbearing, but check in because you want to.

Put down the damn phone. If you can’t go five minutes without thumbing through Instagram, you can’t expect your partner to think you’re listening.

Say thank you. However often you think you’re saying it, say it more.

Identify your spouse’s love language. Speak it often.

Stay up to date about expectations. The who-does-what-and-how talk is not a one-time conversation. It is an ever evolving one that must take place regularly. It helps keep you both on the same page and does a lot to ward off resentment.

Set goals together. What do you want to accomplish in the next year? What do you want to achieve in the next few years? What does your partner want? Don’t know? Figure it out. Discussing your goals and arriving at a shared set together that you can then map out is a big step in feeling connected.

Try to incorporate some couple’s therapy exercises. So many are designed to re-establish connection. Here are some to consider.

Try to maintain the “magic formula” of a happy marriage. Dr. John Gottman discovered that for every negative interaction you have with your partner, you need five positives. Stick to this as often as possible and good things will follow.

Reflect on the good times. Reminisce. Because A) this shows your partner that you look back fondly on your relationship and B) it helps you both remember why you decided to live a life together in the first place. That goes a long way.

Turn towards, not away from your partner’s bids for connection. That is, when they tell you a story about their day or offer something for you to respond to, respond to them as much as possible.

Hold hands. Touch the small of their back. Give them more hugs. Embrace the six-second kiss. Just make a pact to be more affectionate in general.

Schedule sex. It may not seem sexy, but this is a simple way to put connection on the calendar.

Handle whatever needs to be handled so they can take some time for themselves — be it an hour or an entire weekend. A relationship can only function at its fullest potential if both partners have the chance to feel like individuals. Help them carve out the time.

Call your friends. Talking to and hearing from your buddies fills you with stories to share and advice to receive. It also helps keep things in perspective.

Play a board game. Build a pillow fort. Go go karting. Just do something silly together. Silliness is a big part of connection.

Don’t bother them when they’re doing the thing they like to do. We all need time to decompress.

But sometimes watch that show that they like to watch but you don’t. You know the one. Yup, that one.

Try, really try, to make them laugh.

Hang out together without talking. Just being comfortable together is important, too.

Give them a kiss before they leave and when they return. Or, if you’re the one to leave before you leave and when you return.

Check in at the end of each day. Talk about what went right, what went wrong, what made you roll your eyes.

Say “I love you” often. But not so often that it becomes the thing you say to prevent them from being upset with you. You get it. We know you do.

Play an active role in your relationship. That is, never stop trying.

Source: 33 Small, Nice Things to Do When Your Relationship Feels Disconnected | Fatherly

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